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COURSE NAME: "Advanced Composition"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Carolina De Luca
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 10:00 AM 11:15 AM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Placement via JCU English Composition Placement Exam or completion of either EN 103 or EN 105 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

This course prepares students to read, think, and write critically. Students will develop their ability to read critically and analyze primary and secondary sources, hone their composition skills through in and out of class essays, and will complete the course by writing and revising a fully-documented and well-reasoned research paper, complemented by an annotated bibliography and literature review. EN110 focuses on the argumentative form, encouraging students to position their work within current critical discourses. The course develops the following skills: source selection and interrogation, identification and contextualization of themes, thesis development and defense, digital literacies, use of library resources, and careful citation in MLA style. Students must receive a grade of C or above in this course to fulfill the University’s English Composition requirement and to be eligible to take courses in English literature.

The course examines a range of fundamental writing strategies, starting with grammar, organization and logic, critical reading of sources, summarizing, paraphrasing, and proper quoting. It continues with the writing of a topic proposal, selection and citation of sources, literature review, and thesis development. Research and library resources will also be covered. Rhetorical conventions will be studied and students will learn to write in different registers, voices and levels of formality appropriate to situation and purpose. The drafting, revising, and editing processes will occur both individually (through a series of conferences with the instructor), and as a group (in workshop format).



Students will learn to write well-organized and error-free essays and longer MLA research papers.  By the end of the course students will have a greater appreciation for writing, and will learn to perceive themselves as writers. Students will also learn to read literature in a way that will develop the critical skills necessary for academic writing across the disciplines and will understand that to read and think well is to write well. 


2 Formal EssaysThe purpose of the at-home essay is to gradually work up to writing the final research paper. These assignments will based on contemporary topics. The length of each assignment will be 3-4 pages. 20%
4 In-class responsesStudents practice writing fully developed in class responses based on readings analyzed ahead of time. The purpose of the in-class response is to allow students to think on their feet and to manage writing effectively within a particular time frame. 20%
MLA Research PaperAll students are required to write a fully documented short research paper (6-8 pages). It must be an explicit argument and must follow MLA format. The research approach will focus on process; students will draft, edit and revise thoroughly.30%
Class Participation Most of the lessons are workshops, direct opportunities for students to improve their writing ability and put argument theory into practice. Furthermore, in order to write an effective argument, one must think through the issues thoroughly: in-class discussions begin with the assigned readings and develop according to the interests and perspectives of class members. Therefore, class participation and student interaction are essential pre-writing activities. The participation grade also includes the performance of the student through the revision and drafting processes, which are both essential and components of the class. Finally, the participation grade includes 2 mandatory visits to the JCU Writing Center.10%
HomeworkThis includes everything I may assign outside of what is listed in the other section of the syllabus. Homework may include written or oral responses, summaries, paraphrases, annotations, notes on articles, reviews of podcasts or talks. Be prepared to discuss the homework in class. Unprepared students will be penalized. You will be tested on units of "They Say I Say" on a weekly basis. 10%
Final Presentation Students will present their final research projects on the day of the FINAL EXAM. Presentations are to be 6-10 minutes long. You many use audiovisual. 10%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Because the course is based on a series of workshops, discussion and in-class writing activities, attendance and class contribution are essential. Three absences are allowed, no questions asked. Any absence above the 3 allowed will lower and affect the final grade for the class; when a student exceeds 6 absences, he or she will fail the course.

When a student is absent, he or she is held responsible for all of the work covered during the lesson.  Papers or homework due on the day of the absence are to be turned in via email or via another student. Do not email the instructor asking what the homework is: contact a classmate instead. 


Late papers will be marked a half grade off (from A to A-, for example) for every day they are late. Assignments are considered on time only if submitted at (or before) the beginning of class on the due date.


Scheduled in-class essays may not be made up unless arrangements are made with the professor before the day of the absence.


The use of computers and phones is not permitted during class unless indicated by the instructor.  


As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Study Program:


Week One  

Course introduction


The basics of rhetoric

Quiz on syllabus

Week Two

Reading and discussion

Thesis, Persuasion and Argument

At home essay #1 due


Week Three 

In class essay #1                                                                         


Revision of at home essay #1 due

Week Four 

Revision of in-class essay due

Library Seminar

MLA Handout and library asssignment

Week Five 

Discussion of readings

Paraphrase and Summary

In class assignment

Week Six  

In-class essay #2

Revision of in-class essay #2

Week Seven  

Library Session: Research

Individual conferences with instructor

Week Eight  

Research Discussion

Discussion of Readings

Week Nine  

In class essay #3

The Research Paper Session I

Discussion of readings


Week Ten  

Research topics due

At home essay #2 due

Library Session: Research Session II

Week Eleven  



Week Twelve

The Personal Essay

Readings and discussion

Week Thirteen  

Creative Non Fiction: At Home Essay #3 due

Research thesis due

Thesis session

Week Fourteen 

Revision of at home essay due

Graded research paper topic proposal and outline due

Oral presentation of proposal and discussion of sources


Week Fifteen 

Graded Research Paper Rough Draft Due

Revision of in-class essay#3

Workshop Week: Peer revision of rough draft


Finals Week

Research Paper Due

Final Exam Session: Oral presentation of research papers


The Electric Typewriter


Classic Essays:


“If you have the words, there is always a chance you will find the way” -Seamus Heaney